Batemans Bay gay marriage forum

FORUM TIME: Marriage equality activist Ivan Hinton-Teoh in Batemans Bay on Saturday.

FORUM TIME: Marriage equality activist Ivan Hinton-Teoh in Batemans Bay on Saturday.

Experiences and ideas were shared at a marriage equality forum in Batemans Bay on Saturday.

About a dozen people attended the forum, chaired by Canberra-based marriage equality activist Ivan Hinton-Teoh and organised late last week.

Sunshine Bay’s Thea Atkinson attended with her partner Caroline Reynolds and said it was important for the wider community to realise same sex couples were “not going to tear the fabric of society apart because of who we love”.

She said gaining equality mattered.

“If anything happened to me, my family would include Caroline in any arrangements,” Ms Atkinson said.

However, she said others were not so lucky, as families who did not approve of a relative’s gay relationship might exclude a partner in a crisis, such as illness or death. 

“If same-sex marriage was legal, we would have the same rights in place, the same access,” Ms Atkinson said.

Mr Hinton-Teoh said he knew of an 80-year-old Australian man who had been with his (male) partner for 50 years, and wanted to marry him before he died.

“It is not just people in the prime of their lives who are affected, and these stories need to be shared,” he said.

He advised those gathered of social media campaigns to join and the best ways of lobbying politicians to support the cause.

The possibility of entering gay-themed teams in Eurobodalla sporting competitions was discussed, with titles like “team equal” suggested.

“The issue may seem to be low priority to some, but not to those affected,” Mr Hinton-Teoh said.

He believed the sooner it was dealt with the better.

“For 11 years, it has taken space away from other issues, so it is time to move on with it, because it is not a big deal,” he said. 

Twenty countries world-wide allow same sex marriage, and Australia is one of 175 that does not.

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